Letter to the Chair of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
Regarding the Australian Direct Marketing Association (ADMA)'s Application for Approval of a Code of Practice

Roger Clarke

Principal, Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd, Canberra

Visiting Fellow, Department of Computer Science, Australian National University

Version of 7 November 1998

© Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd, 1998

This document is at http://www.anu.edu.au/people/Roger.Clarke/DV/Fels-ADMA.html

7 November 1998

Prof. A. Fels
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
470 Northbourne Ave

Fax: (02) 6243 1122

Dear Professor Fels

Re: Australian Direct Marketing Association Code

I understand that, at a meeting early in the week of 9 November, you may be intending to make a public appearance, and issue a media release, which provides some degree of ACCC imprimatur to a code prepared by the Australian Direct Marketing Association (ADMA).

To do so would be to the serious detriment of the Commission's and your own personal standing in relation to consumer protection matters, and I accordingly urge that you adopt a very different stance from that embodied in the draft media release.

Consumer and privacy advocates, together with the professional association of information technologists, the Australian Computer Society, have expressed the most serious concerns about ADMA's draft code. Moreover, they have expressed them to your Commission. In addition, your Senior Assistant Commissioner, J.P. O'Neill, has convened a meeting referred to as a 'pre-decision conference'. To provide your imprimatur in these circumstances would appear to be pre-judging a matter which is still very much in process.

Briefly, the reasons for the virulent opposition of many people to ADMA's endeavours to co-opt your Commission's name to their members' cause are:

My recent letter to Mr O'Neill provides a less brief rendition of the argument, at http://www.anu.edu.au/people/Roger.Clarke/DV/ACCC-ADMA.html

My substantive analysis of 'direct marketing and privacy', based on 25 years of research, consultancy and advocacy, is at http://www.anu.edu.au/people/Roger.Clarke/DV/DirectMkting.html

I would greatly appreciate your confirmation that you will not make any public statements that imply that the code is anything more than a draft that has yet to be the subject of consultations with consumer and privacy advocates and representatives, and that would injure the process that your Commission already has in train; and that you will urge Mr O'Neill to take full account of the public interest during the proceedings.

Yours sincerely

Roger Clarke MComm UNSW PhD ANU FACS



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Created: 7 November 1998

Last Amended: 7 November 1998

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